Our Impact – Youth Services

Family Services provides youth in the City of Poughkeepsie a place to belong; A place where they can develop their athletic, creative, academic, workforce and social skills in supportive and challenging ways.  This support is critical given the challenges that many youth in the community face:  81% of students enrolled in the Poughkeepsie School District are considered economically disadvantaged (1); The City of Poughkeepsie has a disproportionate rate of violent crime and teen participants share concern around gangs in their schools and youth carrying guns.  In addition, in 2019-2020, City of Poughkeepsie School District reported a 60% graduation rate, as compared to a statewide graduation rate of 85% (2).

After school programs, such as those provided at Family Services, offer youth a place to build resilience, explore their potential, receive academic support, and nurture their overall wellbeing.   When a child participates in structured after school programming, there is often an improvement in school attendance, test scores and grades.  (3) Afterschool programs support social development, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and reduce crime and juvenile delinquency.  (4)   In 2020, 430 youth from elementary to teen participated in Family Services after school programming.

In our work with middle and high school students, Family Services implements key elements of two evidence-based programs:  Botvin Life Skills and The Phoenix Curriculum.  Botvin Life Skills is a substance abuse and violence prevention program based on 35 years of research that is designed to promote positive youth development.  In addition to helping youth resist drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, the program also supports the reduction of violence and other high-risk behaviors and prepares adolescents for the independence and responsibilities they will encounter as young adults.  The Phoenix Curriculum provides gang prevention and gang intervention workshops and is designed for middle and high school students who are at higher risk for gang involvement. The program helps youth develop self-efficacy in identifying and addressing the highest risk factors for substance abuse, violence, bullying, gang involvement, and other crime. Youth learn how to recognize high-risk people, places, things, and situations, and have confidence that they can handle these risk factors effectively using new skills. These new skills include a range of coping options for avoidance, escape, refusal, gang resistance, and violence prevention.

According to recent program surveys, youth share that Family Services is making an impact in their daily lives.   84% of youth agree or strongly agree that Family Services has helped them learn to stop doing something they know they should not do and 94% share that the program helped them learn things to do in their free time to keep out of trouble.  94% of youth agree or strongly agree that Family Services helped them do better in school; 95% agree that the program helped them do something good for the community; and 89% of youth share that they agree or strongly agree that the program taught them ways to have good relationships with adults.



  1. https://mhvcommunityprofiles.org/
  2. https://data.nysed.gov/gradrate.php?year=2020&state=yes
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318297/#R27
  4. https://youth.gov/youth-topics/afterschool-programs/benefits-youth-families-and-communities